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The debate over urban planning models is now as polarized as any other culture war issue with a strong partisan divide in support for denser walkable development with democrats being much more sympathetic to the idea. Some on the right view denser urban living as part of a leftist or elite sponsored agenda for us to accept a lower quality of life: “living in pods and eating soylent,” as the memes hold. In contrast to this the single family home symbolizes freedom and prosperity to Conservatives: the ideal of the American Dream.

A major theme in urbanist circles is the racist history of single family zoning which is tied in with a wider range of issues including liberalizing immigration, school integration, and the use of up-zoning as a way to diversify the suburbs and redistribute wealth equity in real estate. Thus NIMBY policies to restrict housing are viewed as a racist tool to exclude lower income people of color from opportunities in desirable areas such as access to education and high paying jobs. Long a NIMBY stronghold, Berkeley California recently passed a resolution to abolish single family zoning on racial justice grounds.

With group competition over land and resources there are parallels between anti-gentrification progressives concerned about the displacement of communities of color and White conservative concerns about systematic diversification of the suburbs. Ironically there is a concept of a birthright from left wing anti-gentrification activists who come close to wanting a system of internal passports. Many woke anti-gentrification activists of color have made common cause with older White NIMBY activists to resist changes in California’s zoning laws. Despite their woke leanings, the YIMBY movement is primarily concerned about something more concrete: the massive housing shortage in major urban areas which impacts. Millennials the most. The YIMBY movement is correct that the limited supply in housing is what leads to displacement.

In a society that prides itself on liberal values there is still an implicit mentality to view certain demographics as “undesirable” that must be kept out with high costs. Certainly when White ethnocentrism is taboo economic elitism serves as a substitute but in dissident right/HBD circles there is a concept of a Diversity Tax, that the demographic presence of outgroups places an added economic and quality of life burden on Whites, further increasing their cost of living.

There probably is a degree of White ethnocentrism in support for restricting new housing, especially among conservative NIMBYs, but the California liberal boomer mentality is reactionary in the sense of wanting to preserve Late 20th Century California liberalism. For instance trying to relive the 60s by having a “We Believe in Black Lives Matter etc.” Sign on one’s million dollar home and virtue signaling about a nice well-off family of color moving in next door but panicking about a proposed mix use development nearby that allocates affordable housing.

There is the meme of diverse youthful YIMBY activists vs. crusty old White NIMBYs who want to maintain a status quo emanating from such events as YIMBYs posting images from a zoom meeting of the NIMBY group Livable California. Certainly there are many well off NIMBYs of color but with the debate framed in terms of age and race where do White Millennials and Zoomers fit in?

For both younger Whites who can’t afford to buy into the nice areas they grew up in and lower income people of color dealing with gentrification there is a problem of constantly having to compete to stay in one’s community. Under neoliberalism there is no Birthright to one’s community even if one’s family has lived there for generations.

With the landed gerontocracy in real estate, especially in California, opposition to new housing has become inter-generational warfare with one Silicon Valley NIMBY posting on Nextdoor, flat out wanting to keep out younger families to preserve their community for Senior Citizens. Woke YIMBYs will often say that NIMBYs are eugenicists but the outcome of restrictionist housing policies actually has a dysgenic outcome.

In my article Who Breeds in California the data shows that NIMBY policies have caused White flight and dramatically reduced White middle and upper class fertility. Urban areas are already fertility sinks and data shows that high housing costs further reduces fertility.

All demographic groups are impacted but Whites and the middle class have a more engrained mentality that one needs an adequate amount of living space in order to raise a family. Conservatives will blame the demand for up-zoning on mass immigration but if these demographic changes are inevitable then by not up-zoning NIMBYs are only screwing over their own progeny. Immigrants and minorities are generally much better adapted to density and well off immigrants are buying up single family homes in the suburbs, creating ethnoburbs.

Joel Kotkin who is a critic of the push for density in California has a strong belief that single family homes are a crucial part of the American Dream for middle class families. Kotkin predicts that up-zoning for density “could lead to significant house value losses by families” but in California those of ages 25 to 34 have rates approximately 40% below the national average. Kotkin acknowledges the plight of millennials but insists that only the late 20th century suburban model can offer them a path to prosperity.

While Kotkin’s views on housing are narrow minded, it is true in California based on the data from Who Breeds in California, that middle class and White family formation is primarily strong in suburban areas, especially master planned communities. Kotkin advocates for more suburban sprawl development which comes with its own set of problems.

With post pandemic trends in remote work, business closure, and rise in crime, many urban centers have become even more inhospitable to family formation and a thriving middle class. Regardless of whether the location is urban or suburban the attributes that matter are good schools, safe public spaces, and adequate living space. Denser living is not inherently bad for Whites, the middle class, and families but there is a fragility in that when the wrong urban policies are implemented or there is a crisis, urban life will falter.

Woke policies such as forced school integration and the push to diversify the suburbs further exacerbate these negative social trends but the status quo isn’t working either. If the housing crisis is not addressed locally there will be a power vacuum for woke policies in housing to take hold imposed by the State.

For starters Zoning Reform Is Not Leftism and the right is foolish to allow the left to have a monopoly on walkable communities and increasing the housing supply. Both woke urbanist and NIMBYs embrace a framework that emerged out of the second half of the 20th Century. The policies that emerged out of that era such as forced integration, as documented by E. Michael Jones in The Slaughter of Cities, decimated close knit urban White ethnic communities that were pushed out to the suburbs to assimilate into the deracinated American identity that we know today.

The acceptable political framework is either individualism or racial equity without regard for what constitutes a community beyond housing costs and supply. Neither free-markets nor woke minded policies can tackle these issues because they both fall into a one size fits all approach. Thus a new paradigm must take into account factors including aesthetics, levels of social capital, culture, and demographics that are often neglected in the debate.

With rapid demographic change, Whites who think in terms of individual based rather than group ownership of a community are as naïve as displaced nomadic peoples of the past. Demanding freedom of association is a must because strict zoning was largely enacted to keep out outsiders which has led to older generations failing to build up for their progeny to have a future. Zoning reform and the trend of Retrofitting Suburbia must coincide with enclavism, building up close knit communities that are high in social capital.

We will likely see White communities functioning as ethnoburbs in the near future with the added benefits of enclavism of having higher quality public amenities, the pooling of resources, an ease to the cutthroat competition of having to succeed economically in order to live in a community that serves one’s or one’s group’s needs, and the preservation of inter-generational wealth so future generations can have a birthright to their communities.

For enclavism to work there needs to be a legal and political frame-work to challenge the worst of woke policies that challenge freedom of association, and pose a barrier to the building up of high-trust communities. For starters, the education system needs to be restructured to enable enclavism. Policy change is needed to make it easier to break up large failed urban school districts and funding must be allocated for home schooling and private education.

The death of social capital is a national crisis documented in Robert Putnam’s Bowling Alone and when a Venture Capitalist funded a commune to cure LA’s loneliness, many of the reactions automatically reverted to the pod meme. There is the trope of the atomized city dweller but low density suburbs and even small towns are also impacted by the demise of social capital whose residents spend much of their spare time indoors online or watching TV.

The midcentury single family home model was built for the nuclear family but has failed to adapt to demographic change and the rootlessness of people constantly having to move. Also the inward focused suburban layout with private backyards reduces social capital and incentives to create high quality communal spaces. Urban planning models, regardless of density, must take social cohesion into account.

With the current mass exodus to the suburbs, it is important to learn from the mistakes of the past. We don’t need to abolish single family zoning but must explore a wider variety of models outside the norm. There is an opportunity with zoning reform to allow for more available space to build up utopian micro-societies on a compact scale with one such example being the archology or self-contained city.

It is a grandiose concept, that could bring to urban areas, the insular village structure “that mimics natural habitats peoples have lived in for thousands of years.” For example: one large structure or a series of inter-connected structures that contain residential units, shopping, and shared public amenities such as schools and gyms. This model already exists in many Asian Cities.

The only thing that comes close to this model in the West is in theme parks and resorts, even though master planned communities succeed in offering communal amenities but in a low density suburban model. These Self-contained models have the potential to offer greater social capital and more economic resilience. Having access to safe recreational and educational amenities creates less demand for constant parental supervision and the pooling of resources also would help address the issue of declining family formation. In a high density development there needs to be a requirement for units with adequate amount of living space for families.

More practical planning models include the New Urbanist movement to retrofit suburbia into compact villages and the push for more flexible zoning regulations. Zoning is a barrier to social capital when it does not allow for a single family home or collection of homes to be transformed into a larger collective unit. For example: for an extended family or to build some kind of tribal compound. Residential communities need to allow for more communal spaces and could also be retrofitted to encircle a communal park or garden and interconnected with green belts, rather than sidewalks and asphalt.

With more urbanites moving out to the suburbs and small towns there is an increased demand for more walkable and aesthetically pleasing development. There are potential downsides to a more liberal cosmopolitan individualistic culture but remote work creates opportunities for family formation and building up high trust communities from scratch.

As far as the concept of an ownership society and personal and economic freedom the case is weak that up zoning will lead to the end to private property. More people and families should own their own unit and the current high costs make that practically impossible for many. Besides expanding economic opportunities, greater social capital leads to greater freedom, prosperity, opportunities to organize politically and cultural innovation.

True freedom is not simply low taxes and being left alone but being able to live in the kind of society one would want to live in, taking into account the urban planning model, architecture, and the people one lives among. There needs to be an urbanist outlook, either an urbanist right or dissident center that offers a counter-balance to woke liberalism.

This new political and social paradigm must take into account future trends and seek out of the box solutions that are beyond left vs. right. These solutions must take into account a realistic view of group dynamics. They must accept that the status quo is not worth defending, and put forth an optimistic vision rather than a reactionary vision. We must reassess the American Dream, and think beyond the fatalistic dichotomy of either going back to the late 20th century or living in a pod and eating soylent.

• Category: Economics • Tags: California, Housing, NIMBY 
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  1. Excellent piece.
    I recommend the Fellowship for Intentional Community for more ideas and resources.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  2. I saw what happened to public housing in New York City. The savages, living subsidized or free, trashed the structures in under 10 years to the point tearing them down was the best economic decision. The same happened in Chicago and other cities.

    High density housing can work if someone purchases a condo and has skin in the game. If the push is to just get more POC into white neighborhoods by constructing cheap buildings, they won’t last long and will be the major source of crime in the area.

    I once sat in on a lecture by a city planner. At the end of his diatribe, I got up and commented that the best thing the city could do was to fire his ass. Allow market forces unencumbered by ridiculous regulations and micromanagement solve the problem. The market will produce what the market wants and needs.

  3. What is referred to in the article as the “mass exodus to the suburbs” is purely a reflection of an urgent wish to get out of the “riot zone”. No one – white, Asian, or mestizo – wants to live in proximity to black social pathology.

    Minneapolis is supposed to have sustained $500 million in damage from the arson, vandalism, and looting that took place during the George Floyd riots. Multiply this by every city that suffered similar episodes last year.

    If American society is fraught with “systemic racism,” the reason is that non-black working- and middle-class people dislike and fear negro crime, and they object to being in danger of life or limb and to having their property stolen, trashed, or destroyed.

  4. It is a grandiose concept, that could bring to urban areas, the insular village structure “that mimics natural habitats peoples have lived in for thousands of years.” For example: one large structure or a series of inter-connected structures that contain residential units, shopping, and shared public amenities such as schools and gyms. This model already exists in many Asian Cities.

    It also exists among ants and bees

  5. Without serious law enforcement, all this is so much tripe.

    • Replies: @anon
  6. Enclavism will necessarily be about survival of the tribe one chooses to join or form with others to protect the local community from marauding gangs of bandits. Education will be an important but secondary consideration.

  7. anon[515] • Disclaimer says:
    @Jim Christian

    There will be serious law enforcement…in selected locations. Like Malibu, Marin County, Beverly Hills, and so forth. Those places will remain off limits to the ordinary person. Other locations will have more relaxed enforcement, and all the constant, low level crime that goes along with it.

    For all of Stark’s talk-talk-talk-talk, it is obvious that ordinary white Americans are now expected to crowd into pods efficient living quarters and eat bugs learn to enjoy alternative cuisine. Because how else can the goal of lifting up 1 billion Americans Of Color be achieved?

    • Thanks: Jim Christian
  8. They are covering all the farms where I live with McMansions and condos. That sucks. If you think McMansions and condos, and for that matter any suburban house with a big evil lawn, you are an asshole. Lawns are deserts. Look it up.

    I don’t care if it’s conservative or liberal to want less fertile land taken up by faceless tasteless, oversized, gimcrack subdivisions. It doesn’t matter which. It just sucks. Totally sucks. You’ll be sorry when all the fertile land is scraped away for housing (it’s cheaper to build on flat, already cleared land out in the country, than in precipitous, tree-filled land, or for that matter in huge, empty downtown areas with nothing but empty 19th-century factory buildings.) and they start tearing down subdivisions and paying through the nose (costs always passed on to the consumer/taxpayer) to spread a thin layer of a little fertile loam across the new barren poisoned fields.

    Global warming means all other environmental considerations can go fuck themselves. Read Alexander Cockburn.

    • Replies: @Rosie
    , @Jim Christian
  9. Rosie says:

    Global warming means all other environmental considerations can go fuck themselves. Read Alexander Cockburn.

    I’m not sure global warming believer, but I am a lover of wildlife. I don’t want farmland used for more houses with big lawns and I don’t want forests cut down for them, either.

    I loathe the Mcmansion with a passion. Builders want to make a quick buck. They don’t care about sustainability. Square footage is cheap for the builder.

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    , @Jim Christian
  10. @Rosie

    Anybody who truly cares about the destruction of the environment in the US would have to be against immigration from the third world.
    To take the most extreme example I can think of, a Somali living in the US generates 160 times more “Greenhouse gasses” than one living in Somalia.
    The best thing to do for the US and the planet would be to burn these people on arrival.

  11. turtle says:

    get more POC into white neighborhoods

    That used to be called block busting. Appears it is about to make a comeback.

    Once the property values have been driven down, big $$ can come in and buy up entire neighborhoods on the cheap. Demo the existing SFRs and white picket fences, build heavily subsidized “affordable housing,” take the money and laugh all the way to the bank.

    Great riches for a few wealthy “developers,” high crime, poverty and despair for the masses.
    Coming soon to your suburban neighborhood, folks. And mine too, unfortunately.

    All that stays is dying, and all that lives is gettin’ out…
    They’ve got the urge for going, and they’ve got the wings to go…

  12. @RoatanBill

    I saw what happened to public housing in New York City. The savages, living subsidized or free, trashed the structures in under 10 years to the point tearing them down was the best economic decision. The same happened in Chicago and other cities.

    High density housing can work if someone purchases a condo and has skin in the game. If the push is to just get more POC into white neighborhoods by constructing cheap buildings, they won’t last long and will be the major source of crime in the area.

    You might like the book Defensible Space, available from, of all places, HUD. It makes the point that properly planned public housing, even with POCs, does not lead to neighborhood collapse. The issue is giving the residents “skin in the game” and a sense of ownership of the space.

    There’s a great quote from the now-deceased author from the local NAACP lawyer who is advocating for the bad,old housing project that becomes a crime-ridden hell-hole. His comment is basically that if it leads to white flight, that will open up housing opportunities for his people from fleeing whites.

    • Replies: @anon
    , @RoatanBill
  13. anon[220] • Disclaimer says:

    Oh, well, another iteration of the theory of Magic Dirt; in this case it’s Magic Architecture. But the reliance on Magic is clearly present. Sometimes the Magic just doesn’t work.

    Y’see, some people don’t want to have skin in the game, they’d rather take their share out of someone else’s hide. It’s part of the entertainment of looting as we saw last year, and likely will see this year.

    You’re familiar with the concept, now aren’t you? The concept of looting?

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  14. @TomSchmidt

    Yes, skin in the game would probably help improve things, but what no skin in the game shows is the natural tendency of low life trash to despoil their environment apparently never having learned to not shit where you eat.

    Decades of pandering to white trash, black trash, brown trash, red trash and probably a smattering of yellow trash and what has the society got to show for it? Debt and more human trash.

    It’s time to stop giving these people anything and make them work their asses off to earn a meager existence. As long as we’re burdened by the gang of criminals known as gov’t, there should be manual labor programs to put these people to hard labor to have some skin in the game. I’d add that there should be programs for the intellectually gifted among them, but there would be no takers.

    • Replies: @TomSchmidt
  15. @obwandiyag

    Get your blacks under control, Obbie and we won’t have to strip mine the farms.

    • Replies: @Jim Bob Lassiter
  16. @Rosie

    Get your blacks under control and we won’t have to strip mine the farms, Rosie. And if you’re so concerned about the ecology, wouldn’t hurt to get your Democrat immigrants under control either.

  17. @Jim Christian

    Spot-fucking-on Jim. Only you forgot your new rules of capitalization.

    • Replies: @Jim Christian
  18. @john cronk

    Yeah, they’ve got one of those new fangled “Intentional Communities” in Durham, NC. It’s called Eno Commons.

    It’s quite a freak show as far as its residents are concerned.

  19. @Jim Bob Lassiter

    See, that’s my contribution to the National Middle Finger to excessive black worship. We’re equal or we are not. Until we say, collectively, “Enough!”, and make it stick, it will never be enough. It will only be more they demand.

  20. anarchyst says:

    The federal government has been the largest, most destructive “blockbuster” in American history.
    “Urban renewal”, “HUD”, “low-income housing”, “vibrant diversity”, “section 8”, and other federal housing programs have done more to facilitate “blockbusting” than any other government act.
    I grew up in Detroit, and personally witnessed the destruction of a once-great city. There are a number of reasons for Detroit’s decline that have never been explored or discussed.
    1. “Blockbusting” by greedy real estate agents and real estate speculators. Real estate agents would send out postcards with the following: “A new family is moving into your neighborhood. If you want to sell your house, please call me at xxx-xxxx”. A “new family” was a euphemism for black families, and was used to “encourage” whites to sell their homes.
    2. HUD (Housing and Urban Development) speculators and real estate hustlers conspired to “buy up” and raze the best houses on every block, in certain sections of the city. Quite often, “shacks” were left standing while decent housing was purchased by HUD and razed. This was done purposely to depress property values, to make it easier for speculators to purchase properties at “bargain basement” prices.
    I realize that items 1 and 2 are at cross purposes, but they were a reality in 1960s Detroit.
    3. The 1967 riots did much to push whites out of Detroit. A little-known aspect of the Detroit riots was the application of spray-painted words on the exteriors of black-owned businesses. The words “soul brother” was spray-painted on businesses owned by blacks so that the “angels of death” (actually rioters) would spare them from destruction. Whole business districts in the city were destroyed, never to recover.
    4. The election of Coleman Alexander Young, Detroit’s first black mayor, who was overtly racist to Detroit’s white citizens while “getting along just fine” with the “movers and shakers” (big business people) of the day (as long as the campaign contributions kept coming in)….

    • Replies: @Mark G.
  21. Mark G. says:

    I had an aunt and uncle living in Detroit and we paid a family visit to them in 1965, Detroit was a great place to visit then. Every big city then had a big downtown department store. Here in Indianapolis it was L.S. Ayres and in Chicago it was Marshall Fields. In Detroit it was Hudson’s, which we paid a visit to.

    I wouldn’t want to go back to Detroit now. I would like to just keep my fond memories of it and not see the devastation that occurred since then. Indianapolis managed to avoid that fate because it was smaller and could annex some Republican leaning outlying suburbs that were still inside the county line. We never had a Coleman Young. Our mayors were either moderate Democrats or Republicans. One Republican mayor, Stephen Goldsmith, was above average and his book The Twenty-First Century City is a good book on running a big city.

    Indianapolis has had a slow decline due to continuing white flight and is now on the verge of flipping permanently Democrat. One of the purposes behind the harsh Covid lockdowns and letting the Floyd protests get out of control was to drive more conservative voters out of big cities that are not yet firmly in Democrat control and complete the switch. Our current Democrat mayor here engaged in that tactic.

  22. @anon

    Have you read the actual book and the actual quotes from the NAACP? My city fought a battle with an interventionist Federal judge, who forced them to build public housing on the city’s east side, where the whites live. You can build cheap, hostile architecture and create no-man’s land projects that quickly get destroyed, along with the neighborhood around them, or you can create property that gives the people living there a sense of ownership. That’s what happened here: no bleeding sore, black hole of desolation. The mostly black and Puerto Rican residents complain that they cannot buy the units. The neighborhoods have seen no increase in crime, and the trash and disorder that surrounds the housing projects one sees on the train on the way into the city are nowhere in sight.

    That’s empirical evidence, not magic. It’s been 20 years, and the disaster (desired by the NAACP) never happened.

    Is your mayor accepting Federal dollars? Better send him a copy of this.

    in this case it’s Magic Architecture. But the reliance on Magic is clearly present. Sometimes the Magic just doesn’t work.

    What about hostile architecture? Does it make people more likely to kill?

  23. @RoatanBill

    It’s time to stop giving these people anything and make them work their asses off to earn a meager existence.

    Worthwhile book. I think it would be better if the poor actually didn’t have to work so hard, after reading this. There’s the welfare recipients, but that’s only one group. The working poor basically get dicked around, a methodology practiced on them and soon to move up to the middle class. There are plenty of people who make their own problems in the book, like the woman in Mississippi with ten (!) children who gets no cash income except for $1600 in monthly food stamps. She sells a bunch of them (food stamps go for $.50 on the dollar in MS, but as much as $.70 in Chicago, I learned) to buy stuff at Wal-Mart so she can make ice pops to sell, illegally, from her public housing apartment. I had to admire how much work she puts into surviving, even not being thrilled at the ten children with no father that have to be paid for by taxpayers.

    Anyway, it’s apparently VERY hard work to be poor in the USA, if you’re not living on the streets. The ones trying to get ahead really do work their asses off.

    The good news from the book is that the 90s welfare reforms really did work and reward working poor who actually work. The book’s author wrote the book to promote the idea that the USA should go back to offering cash payments to some people, many of whom live on less than $2 a day.

  24. They’re just paving over all the cornfields where I live for McMansions and condos.

    It sucks. Anybody who says it doesn’t suck sucks. It sucks. Big time. Fucking real estate bastards.

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